by Calvin Ishee

In spite of countless twists, turns and challenges, the City of Pass Christian brought the spirit of Christmas AND Mardi Gras to The Pass. In early October, the Chamber of Commerce let the city know that it would not be publicly acting as a sponsor helping with the event due to COVID-19, but yet would be participating in a passport program (published in The Gazebo Gazette).

Just days before this year’s event, Pass Christian High School withdrew it’s Marching band and COVID-19 fears were festering throughout the community while sister cities were cancelling their previously planned Christmas events for December 4th and 5th, but Christmas in the Pass would not be denied and was saved in the nick of time by a group of local citizens.

Pass residents like Mary Bourdin, Mary-Catherine Scriber, Jenny Lowery, Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott plus many others resuscitated 2020’s long awaited and anticipated Christmas in the Pass.

This year’s program began in earnest just before dark on Friday, December 4th as local businesses like Robin’s Nest in The Pass, Parkers Gift Shop and others extended their normal hours of operation and various vendors opened shop on Davis Avenue. The streets were lined with children, parents and adults alike awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus.

The first inkling of a “Mardi Gras feel” was the large number of joyous people dressed in an assortment of Christmas outfits with characters like The Grinch, Wendy Lou, the Grinch’s dog, multiple versions of Santa Claus, beautiful Christmas attire and even a bunch of “ugly” Christmas sweaters.

Then all of a sudden the music began to blare, the lights from Pass Christian’s brand new fire truck could be seen coming around the corner with it’s sirens announcing the arrival of “the Christmas parade”, the excitement of the crowd began to grow because they knew that Santa was about to pay a special visit to The Pass.

Much to the surprise and amazement of the crowd, especially the young ones, the parade included an assortment of golf carts dressed in their best Christmas regalia, lights, cool decorations, horns a blazing with Christmas revelers throwing candy and beads to the happy and joyful crowd. Even The Grinch demonstrated the true spirit of Christmas by offering throws and hugs to his adoring fans. With the arrival of the true star of the show, Santa Claus spoke briefly to the crowd, the Pass Christmas Tree came to life and children rushed to talk to Santa. The evening culminated with a very cool Christmas fireworks display courtesy of O’Dwyer Realty.

Saturday‘s events began early with the first annual Christmas in the Pass Market which featured products made, grown and offered by locals. Market organizers also raffled off some of the vendors products and even Pass Christian Mayor McDermott was one of the big winners. Also included was the 2020 Pet Pawrade that featured furry friends dressed in their very best Christmas attire.

2020 Christmas in the Pass ended literally on a very high note with a truly outstanding performance by country superstars Chapel Hart. Thanks to The Whiskey Bar owner extraordinaire Mary-Catherine Scriber, the city was treated to a special Chapel Hart Christmas show.

Band members Danica Hart, her cousin Trea and sister Devynn put on an amazing show that had the crowd jumping, dancing and singing throughout the night.

Social media comments included, “Absolutely amazing”,  “Sounding fabulous ladies”, “I had an amazing time, thank y’all very much”, “a good time was had by all” and “Great time! Fun stuff!! So nice to be out in the street in town, enjoying music with everyone. This band is awesome and our town is awesome”.

After publicly thanking her cosponsors Ed and Becky Edwards, MS. City Bakery by Skip Negrotto, B.E.E. By the Bay Galleries and the Whiskey Prime Steakhouse, Scriber said it best, “What a night! Love these ladies and our town”.

Until next year’s 36th Christmas in the Pass, here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.